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Bird and Hike with CT Land Trusts

24 Apr 2024
Andrew Griebeler

Andrew Griebeler, March eBirder of the Month

Your eBirding data helps create tools that can be used to further conservation, inspire support, and inform ecological management strategies. eBird in Action is a new segment which shares the conservation stories made possible because of your contributions. This first edition comes from the Cornell Lab’s Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative (LTBCI). This program exemplifies of how eBird data—used to build innovative community tools such as Merlin Bird ID—also supports the development of inclusive birding programs and empowered conservation stewards.

For people of color and members of other groups that are currently underrepresented in birding, outdoor safety and accessibility means much more than trails clear of physical hazards. With the intention of creating safe and inclusive outdoor experiences, the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) hosted a series titled “Bird and Hike with Connecticut Land Trusts,” funded in part by a $5,000 small grant from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative. With help from the Merlin Bird ID app, project leader Yaw Owusu Darko created field guides for the hikes, then led hikes where participants felt safe and represented.

“Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice (EDIJ) work is not an add-on to the work land trusts do—it’s intrinsically part of it,” says Yaw Owusu Darko, senior project specialist at CLCC. Communicating “you belong here” was one of the goals of this program. By helping people of color feel comfortable in outdoor spaces and see themselves as stewards of the environment, Darko believes we can bring new perspectives into conservation work.

These hikes helped open new lines of communication between local land trusts and organizations like Outdoor Afro and Black AF in STEM, bringing new dimensions and voices to the conversations. Discover a new place to get outdoors by locating a land trust near you, or connect with your regional Outdoor Afro network to find an adventure outside.

Read more about Bird and Hike with CT Land Trusts on the Cornell Lab’s Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative website.


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